In lieu of Canada’s Day, we would like to salute the great brands Canada has and the brains behind them, including up and comer, Joanna Griffiths. If you haven’t heard of Griffiths, she is a business woman extraordinaire. With over seven years of marketing and PR experience and a resume that includes working for Universal Music, the Toronto International Film Festival and the CBC, she’s the kind of stuff that makes you proud to be a Canadian woman!
In addition to her already booming resume, comes the title of founder and CEO of Knix Wear, a revolutionary Toronto based underwear brand that pairs high performance fabrics with stylish designs. So what does that mean to you? It means that these stylish undies feature a thin and absorbent gusset that wicks away moisture and eliminates odor to keep you feeling fresh all day long. We got to ask Griffiths a few questions on the brand, what inspires her and why she thinks women will love Knix Wear. Check out her answers below.
SD: How did you come up with the concept and designs?
JG: I came up with the concept following a conversation with my mom, who is a doctor, about the physical realities of motherhood and being a woman. I looked around and realized that with technological advancements it seemed like everything had evolved – everything but our underwear. I saw an opportunity to create underwear that did more and that was designed with women’s needs in mind. Underwear that wicked away and absorbed moisture, was leak resistant and naturally anti-microbial so that women could feel fresh, dry and confident all day long. I spent a lot of time researching technical fabrics and finalized the technology component in the spring of 2012. The design inspiration came from speaking with hundreds of women and understanding what they liked and didn’t like about underwear. That’s where we developed our design principles – Fashion, Function and Fit. We set out to make great looking underwear that rivals the top brands in the market, and also that combines our functional technology with a great fit.
SD: Why do you think women will love Knix Wear?
JG: I think women will love Knix Wear because it’s an underwear upgrade over what is out there on the market. We’ve strived to perfect the fit so that it’s comfortable as can be without digging in. It looks great – no matter what your taste – whether you are lace thong kind of a girl, a seamless bikini gal or a workout fanatic that wants a sporty boyshort to help you power through your day – we’ve got a pair for you. Women are multi-taskers, we’ve got a lot on our plate, and our underwear is designed to multi-task with you and make everyday a little easier. It gives you that extra boost of confidence so you feel ready for anything.
SD: With such a big name like Hudson’s Bay as a future retailer, what do you think the next steps for Knix Wear are? Or where do you see the brand headed in the future?
JG: We are thrilled to have Hudson’s Bay as our first retailer and looking forward to bringing our high-tech knickers to women across Canada. We’ve also created a great e-commerce site – www.knixwear.com – where women can easily buy the entire collection from the comfort of their home or office. Over the next several months we will continue to pursue additional stores across Canada and the US and develop our collection to include even more styles and colours. Eventually, we’d love to see Knix Wear available for women everywhere and we’ll look to expand our distribution internationally. With that said, the future of the brand is going to be based on the feedback that we get from our customers. We spoke with hundreds of women to develop the product and we want to keep that conversation going so we can continue to be a brand that women connect with and love.
SD: When will Knix Wear be available for purchase at The Bay?
JG: We are still finalizing the exact launch date but we are targeting to have Knix Wear available in 18 Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada beginning this August.
JG: I found Kris online of all places, through a lingerie group on Linked In. I was really impressed with the brands he had designed for in the past and we began talking about how we could work together on Knix Wear. Kris has a great creative eye and wasn’t intimated by the challenge of helping create something that hadn’t been done before. It was a collaborative process that took place between Toronto, New York and Montreal. We picked the design direction together and the fabrics. It was fantastic to be able to be involved in the creative process and to work with someone who could help elevate the fashion and fit components.
SD: You are an amazing businesswoman and an inspiration. Is there any advice you have to give young women or future entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses or get into the workforce?
JG: My main learning from starting Knix Wear is don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. It can be humbling but no one knows everything and the key to our success has been finding the right people who have the skills and capabilities that I lack. At this point I feel as though I have asked just about everyone in my network for help and I could not have done it on my own. Make it easy for people to help you. Be clear about what you want to accomplish and identify the gaps where you could use an extra bit of help and advice. This includes your customers. Through our indiegogo campaign we were able to gather some incredible feedback from our customers on styles, sizes and even our branding that we have already incorporated into the business – and we will continue to ask our customers for help and advice going forward. I’d highly recommend other entrepreneurs do the same.